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Forest / Forrest

Forrester / Forster / Foster


Forest/Forrest, Forrester/Forster/Foster were accepted as septs of Douglas by CDSNA at its organization in 1975 based on the original list from the book Scots Kith and Kin.

Variations: Forester, Forstare, Forster, Foster, Forest, Forrest

In Fraser’s The Douglas Book (3, 27) is found a charter from Sir James of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, to Adam Forster.  The actual charter is in Latin but an abstract, an English version description of the charter states,

32. Charter by Sir James of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, to Adam Forster, for his homage and service, rendered and to be rendered to the granter, of the whole land of Fayrlehape, with the pertinents, in the barony of Lyntounrochryke, in the shire of Peebles, which belonged to Hugh Fraser, Lord of Lovet, and were resigned by him into the granter's hands : To be held by the said Adam and his heirs, of the said Sir James and his heirs, in fee and heritage, as freely in all respects as the said Hugh held the said land before his said resignation, for rendering the services used and wont.  The charter is narrated in letters by the said Adam, certifying that he had received the charter from his lord. Sir James, which letters, sealed by the said Adam, were to remain with the said Sir .James. Dalkeith, 16th March 1377.  (The Douglas Book. 3, xv)

The Adam Forster named is thought to be Adam Forrester, 1st of Corstorphine.  The Forrester of Corstorphine family has strong ties to the Douglases.  In Lawlor’s A History of the Family of Cairnes or Cairns: And Its Connections (p 7), the author claims,

We next find [Sir Alexander Livingston and the Chancellor Crichton] in [1444] with an army, harrying and plundering the lands of [William] [8th] Earl Douglas and his ally Sir John Forrester [3rd] of Corstorphine, carrying off horses and cattle and any stray valuables they could find, burning the Granges of Abercorn and Strabrock; while Douglas in retaliation stormed and burned the Admiral's Castle of Blackness (Linlithgow).

Douglas and Forrester were allies and related by marriage.  Stirnet family records for Forrester and Sinclair show Sir John Forrester, 2nd of Corstorphine, married as his second wife Jean Sinclair, daughter of Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney, and brother of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney who married Egidia Douglas, daughter of William Douglas of Nithsdale.  The son of John Forrester and Jean Sinclair was also named John Forrester, 3rd of Corstorphine.  William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney, the son of Henry Sinclair and Egidia Douglas, married Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl Douglas and Duke of Tourraine.  And Beatrix Sinclair, sister of William, 3rd Earl of Orkney, married James, 7th Earl of Douglas.  The William Earl of Douglas mentioned above by Lawlor was the 8th Earl of Douglas, son of the 7th Earl.  

In short, Sir John Forrester, 2nd of Corstorphine, was the great uncle of William, 8th Earl of Douglas and John Forrester, 3rd of Corstorphine, was the Earl’s cousin.

Anderson, in The Scottish Nation (II,Dal-Mac) mentions…

The elder son, Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, took part with the earls of Douglas in their struggles with the chancellor of Crichton and Livingston, and in 1466 led the troops which besieged and demolished Brankston castle. The stone figure above his grave represents a man of Herculean mould. [New Stat. Acc. of Scotland, vol i. p. 211] He was succeeded by Sir Alexander Forrester, supposed to be his son, whose name occurs in the records of parliament, 13th October 1466, when the lord auditors charged Sir Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo to cease all intromitting with the lands of Fingask, and the office of bailliary of the same, belonging to Sir Alexander Forrester of Corstorphine, till he appeared before the lords of council. Deeply imbued with the superstitious feelings of his age, he headed in 1464 a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, and another in 1466, to that of John de Amyace in Picardy; being accompanied on both occasions by several of the neighbouring proprietors, with thirty followers in their train. [Ibid]

A further connection between the Douglas and Forrester families is found in the marriage of Marion (or Marjorie) Forrester to Sir James Sandilands of Calder sometime around 1507.  [See Sandilands.]

In Gerry Forster’s history of the Forster family, we read in part 3 that…

The Foresters (or Forsters) took their name from their office as Foresters to the first Lord of The Western Isles, Dougal, who according to the official history, succeeded his father, Somerled, Regulus of The Isles, in 1164.  However, there is some dispute among scholars as to whether his second son, Reginald, actually inherited the Lordship instead of his brother Dougal.    It is known that Dougal (or Dougall) was the progenitor of the clan MacDougall, and that there is no record of any subsequent association between the MacDougalls and the MacDonalds, so it may fairly be assumed that Reginald (or Ranald, as he was also called) did, in fact, inherit his father’s title, instead of Dougal.  Why this was so is not known, but what is known is that Reginald (or Ranald) was the father of Donald, who became the founder of  the entire vast clan MacDonald, and that it was his line which retained the Lordship of the Isles until, under the arrogant Lord John in 1493, both the title and all its lands were forfeited to the Crown.

Reginald-Ranald was renowned for his Christianity and his liberal benevolence toward the Church, since it was he who founded the famous Monastery of Saddell on the Mull of Kintyre, where all the Lords of the Isles lie buried. So it is possible that his religious leanings may have pleased his father sufficiently for Somerled to have preferred him for the succession over his elder brother, Dougal.

As we have read earlier, the Clan Donald and other clan Foresters were also drafted into the service of the Crown, thus retaining their posts, and even having the areas of their authority greatly extended. The Foresters of Garden and Tor Wood (with whom we are more closely concerned), were first placed in charge of the vast Royal forests which lay between the Clyde estuary, Loch Lomond and the Firth of Forth, much of which was ancient clan Stewart territory long before the Stuarts became a Royal family. 

Though the first hereditary Lord Forrester of Corstorphine was installed in 1635, there were probably Forester knights in the district long before the annexation of the Western Isles to the

Crown by King Alexander III in 1266, after which the “Lordship of the Isles” was only continued under Royal sovereignty.

The Crossover Connection.

The connection of these Foresters of Stirling (and Edinburgh) to the Northumbrian Forsters, although difficult to trace in detail, can still be made broadly through from Edinburgh, where a Sir William Forrester was the Lord Chamberlain of Scotland, and chief of a substantial clan of assorted Forresters, Foresters and Forsters, to Galasheils and Jedburgh, and thence over the Tweed into Northumbria.  Galasheils and Jedburgh, which are both close to the current English Border, became notorious Forester strongholds after the separation of Northumbria from Scottish rule, in 1237, and even then, all the upper sector of Northumbria, including Bamburgh and district, were part of what were called the “Debatable Lands”, which were still being fought over 300 years later! There were several clans on either side of the Border which seemed to enjoy a sort of “dual nationality” for several centuries, coming and going back and forth as they pleased, and often, as with the “Border Reivers”(or cattle-rustlers), at their profit, too.  

Thus we can easily pick up a more or less direct connection with Sir Adam Forester (or Forstar, as it was erroneously spelled in the English Knight’s Subsidiary Roll) of Adderstone, close to Bamburgh, in 1296. But as mentioned earlier, the final, indisputable clincher of this connection lies in that identical “Bugle-horns” coat of arms granted to the Forresters, Foresters and Forsters on either side of the Border, by the Scottish Herald, Lyon, King of Arms.   The same general background incidentally, is equally true for those many Forresters and Forsters who lived on either side of the western section of the Border, in Galloway* and northern Cumbria, adjoining Northumbria. This was the territory and setting of Sir Walter’s Scott’s famous ballad “Young Lochinvar”, in which both the Forsters and their feuding cousins, the Fenwicks, both get a mention, at Netherby Hall on Cannonbie Lee! This poem, which is part of a larger poetic work, “Marmion” by Scott, will be given in full on a later page, together with some other of Sir Walter’s works which mention the Forsters.  (*Where they were closely associated with the Clan Douglas.)



Anderson, William. The Scottish Nation, Dal - Mac. Edinburgh [u.a.: Fullarton, 1863. Print.


Forster, Gerry. The History of the Forster Family and Clan, in six parts. Internet resource. 



Fraser, William. The Douglas Book: In Four Volumes. Burlington, Ont: TannerRitchie Pub. in

collaboration with the Library and Information Services of the University of St. Andrews, 2005. Internet resource.


Lawlor, H C. A History of the Family of Cairnes or Cairns: And Its Connections. London: E. Stock, 1906.



Stirnet: Forrester01. http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/genfam.htm


Stirnet: Sinclair01. http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/genfam.htm